Gymnopedie No 1 by Erik Satie (1866-1925)
Written in 1888, the 3 piano pieces entitled Trois Gymnopedies are probably French composer Erik Satie’s most famous work. Gymnopedies named after the Gymnopaidiai festival of ancient Sparta. These short, atmospheric pieces are written in 3/4 time, with each sharing a common theme and structure. Collectively, the Gymnopédie are regarded as the precursors to modern ambient music – gentle yet somewhat eccentric pieces which, when composed, defied the classical tradition. Erik Satie is today also considered to have been at the forefront of the impressionist movement.
Key Signature E Minor
Time Signature Time 3/4
Tempo Lento (Slow)
This version is in E minor which uses a lot of open strings which free your left hand. A good thing. The tonal range is from the lowest E (6th string) to the highest B (1st String). You will need a cutaway to tackle the high notes. If you don’t have a cutaway handy, substitute the “cutaway” section or the high notes with a lower octave section. ie. Swap - with previously played -. These 2 section are identical only an octave apart. Of course this doesn’t sound as cool, playing the same section in the same octave twice; but at least you can try the piece out without a cutaway. Let the note ring cleanly and change hand positions with a minimum of string noise. Important to make the melody start out, as they are easily overpowered by some chords played on the same beat.